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This is the true story of how God used one sister’s rejection to impact the entire world.

The story is about two sisters – one of them named Rachel was very beautiful. She had pretty eyes and a very shapely figure. The other sister, named Leah, had weak eyes and an unshapely body. She was unattractive, unappealing, and she was unloved.

A young man named Jacob fell madly in love with the beautiful Rachel. Rachel’s father required that Jacob work for him for seven years to be able to marry her. Jacob loved Rachel so much, it flew by in a flash!

Finally, after seven years of hard labor, it was time for the long awaited wedding. After a lot of wine and celebration, Jacob went into his wedding tent to finally be with the bride he had waited so long to be with. The next morning Jacob was shocked to see he didn’t wake up next to the beautiful Rachel! After waking up, Jacob realized he had married and spent the night with the unattractive and homely sister, Leah!


He was furious and went to find the girls’ father. His new father in law explained that it was their custom that the older sister would need to marry before the younger sister could be given in marriage. He told Jacob he could marry Rachel after he finished his wedding week with Leah, as long as he agreed to work for him another seven years!

Bridal veil during the time period of Jacob’s wedding

I know a lot of people would feel bad for Jacob and Rachel about this (and I do too!), but my heart really goes out to Leah. She was used to being the ugly duckling, second choice to her popular sister Rachel. I can’t imagine what it would be like spending my wedding week with a husband who was angry that he had married me. I don’t know what it would feel like slipping into a tent to pretend that you are the pretty sister until the light of day showed that you are not the pretty sister at all, you are just ugly duckling Leah.

I can imagine her sadness as the week was finished and she watched her new husband’s excitement to finally marry the one that he really loved. I am sure she was sad she had to trick someone into marrying her by pretending to be someone that she was not.

I know a lot of people would feel bad for Jacob and Rachel about this (and I do too!), but my heart really goes out to Leah. She was used to being the ugly duckling, second choice to her popular sister Rachel. I can’t imagine what it would be like spending my wedding week with a husband who was angry that he had married me. I don’t know what it would feel like slipping into a tent to pretend that you are the pretty sister until the light of day showed that you are not the pretty sister at all, you are just ugly duckling Leah.

Through time, a huge sibling rivalry developed between the two sisters. Clearly, Rachel was Jacob’s favorite, but Leah never gave up on having a husband that would love her. God looked on Leah’s trouble and let her have children, but Rachel was barren.

Leah named her first child “Simeon” meaning “The Lord has surely looked on my affliction. Now therefore, my husband will love me.” Sadly, Leah gloated a little too much about her ability to have children while Rachel was barren and God gave Rachel a son that she named Joseph.

This rivalry escalated throughout time until the day that Rachel died while giving birth to her second son. Even after her death, it seemed that Rachel was still the favorite. Jacob gave their son, Joseph, a coat of many colors and the most special place in his heart, even above all the other brothers.

It’s easy to look at this story with our natural eye and feel sorry for Leah. The poor ugly girl who would never be loved. But let’s look at this story with our spiritual glasses on to see the hidden blessing of the unloved and how God has a special love for all the ugly ducklings in the world, who have been abandoned and rejected.

Leah learned to lean on God for her strength but Rachel never fully leaned on the Lord (that had even played a part in her death). Yes, it’s true that Joseph was the favorite son of Jacob, but six of Leah’s sons would become heads of the twelve tribes of Israel.

Leah gave birth to a son named Levi. Through the bloodline of Levi, we find such famous Israelites as Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. To be a priest or a worshiper in the temple of God, you had to be from the tribe of Levi. Yes, God favored Levi, son of unloved Leah.

Leah’s son, Judah, would be the forefather of all the kings of Israel. Through Judah comes quite an impressive pedigree. We see such famous people as King David, King Solomon, Boaz, and King Hezekiah.

Jesus Himself descended from this union of Jacob and Leah! Just like Leah, Jesus was described as one having “no beauty that we would desire Him.”

All of the king and priests of Israel, and even the Lord Jesus, came from this one rejected woman, who probably felt like her life didn’t matter very much.

Also, we find that Leah’s prayer to be loved may have eventually been answered. At the end of his life, Jacob didn’t request to be buried with his beautiful wife Rachel – but he wanted to be buried with his beloved wife, Leah!

 

Tomb of the Patriarchs where Jacob and Leah are buried in Israel

If you find that you are lacking in looks, money, smarts, or personality… thank the Lord for it! You are in great company! The very things that you thought disqualified you, have made you rely on fully on God. And it is HIS acceptance that qualifies you to do great and wonderful things in the kingdom of God!!

For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty.

1 Corinthians 1:26

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